Tickets please 
Thursday, December 14, 2006, 18:24 - Travel, Project News
New York City

Well, itís official, Iím outta here. I finally bought my ticket to Stuttgart and will be leaving on January 7th. I know itís hard but donít cry, Iíll most likely be back in September. But in the meantime I am encouraging everyone I know to get a headset or a webcam with mic so we can chat online using Skype or one of the dozens of other messaging like AIM or Yahoo! My spanking new laptop has a built-in webcam so I am all set, but how about you?

The closer I get to leaving, the more anxious I get. Iíve done this before, for even longer so it is not simply the fear of the unknown, though that is part of it. I will miss my friends and family that I will leave behind since I will be spending the vast majority of the next few years in Europe. But I am someone who thrives on familiarity, as much as I enjoy exploring. For me itís the little things, trying to find the right bus, figuring out a menu in a foreign language that make me edgy.

At the same time I know that I will be meeting lots of new and interesting people and making the kinds of images that I dream about. For at least six months I would have to worry about rent, or chasing down a check, a dream in and of itself. And because of that I am just as anxious to leave and finally get started. I imagine that the next six months will fly by so I will try to enjoy it as much as I can.

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Happy Birthday Baby! 
Tuesday, December 12, 2006, 04:25 - Personal
New York City

Happy birthday to me!


©Damaso Reyes


Amazingly enough I have made it to 28, please hold your applause. I did have quite the day though. Finally, after all these years I managed to go ice skating for the first time. I know it sounds silly but I had always wanted to go ice skating for my birthday but no one would ever take me. So thanks to Anna for finally stepping up and taking on the challenge. We went to Bryant Park where not only did we manage to not fall down but we got to go around in circles with the Empire State Building looking down on us, bathed in my favorite shade of blue.


©Damaso Reyes

But youíd be wrong if you thought that was all! After ice skating we killed some time having a nice cocktail at the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street. Not usually the kind of place I would hang out in, the high ceilings, wood paneling and dim lighting give you the feeling of being in a different era, not to mention tax bracket. It is also one of the few places that I can order a Tom Collins without worrying if the bartender knows how to make it.


As if that was all! After drinks we headed to sunny Williamsburg Brooklyn home of the best steakhouse in NYC Peter Lugerís. You canít really describe what the food is like there except to say that it is like nothing else. My good friend Conan managed to escape from work and joined us for a truly spectacular meal. Cheers to him for graciously picking up the check!

Birthdays always give me an opportunity to take stock of the past year and see what Iíve managed to accomplish. The past year has been pretty good, my biggest regret, if you can call it that, has been that I didnít get to spend more time working on The Europeans. But I always knew what starting next year things would kick into high gear so I tried not to obsess too much about what I wasnít able to do. I did take lots of great photos from New Orleans to Tanzania, which makes me feel better about things. I can only imagine what I will be shooting next yearÖ

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Katrina Show Opening 
Friday, October 20, 2006, 04:20 - Personal, Events
New York City

Tonight was the opening of the group show that I am in: Engulfed by Katrina: Photographs Before and After the Storm, curated by Deborah Willis and Hank Willis-Thomas. This show features show great images produced by some incredible photographers and I would encourage everyone in the New York area to come by, the show is up until November 19th.



There was live music, great food and a great panel discussion. It's these kind of events that make me want to exhibit my work more often, hopefully that's something that I will do more of next year as The Europeans kicks into high gear!
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The Road Home... 
Wednesday, October 4, 2006, 18:30 - Travel, Shooting, Personal
Aboard SwissAir flt 14 to JFK

I'm finally headed back to New York! Often short trips where you try to pack everything into a few days are more draining than a long one when you can take your time. While I did not manage to get to see nearly all of Berlin, I did get to do some shooting and I have some story ideas I do want to follow up on when I return to Germany next year.

As much as I would like to do one more trip to Europe before January I think my time, not to mention resources, would be better spent learning some German and otherwise preparing for next year, after all I don't know when I will be getting back to New York.

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To the German People... 
Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 18:20 - Shooting
Berlin

The Bundestag Dome interior

It's another crisp and sunny day here in the Federal Republic. Right now I am waiting in line to enter the Bundestag and it looks like it will be a little while until I get inside. Tomorrow morning I head back to NYC and I have to say it has been a short but productive trip. I even managed to shoot some film though of course not nearly as much as I would have liked. But I am ready to head back and get some work done. I'm also thinking of trying to take some German lessons when I get back in preparation for next year, anyone know a good place?



Exterior





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Remembering? 
Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 01:10 - Shooting, Personal, Commentary
Berlin

Today was cool and windy with the sun hidden behind what seemed like a never-ending series of gray clouds. I wandered around the heart of the city. I managed to make my way over to the Bundestag and the Brandenburg gate where some kind of festival and concert was happening (btw, what possesses people all over the world to perform bad covers of 20 year old American pop songs?).

I was walking south to Potzdamer Platz when I encountered the holocaust memorial. It really is a beautiful and somber place but of course that didn't stop kids from playing hide and seek and teenagers from getting high among the hundreds of black monoliths. How long does it take for a monument to lose it's meaning? Clearly the youngest generation seems to have lost what used to be called 'German guilt' but is it a good thing or not? I suppose it is important not to be a prisoner of the past or totally bound by the sins of our fathers but I have to say it was a little unnerving to hear laughter at the monument to six million dead.


Berlin's Holocaust Memorial

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Performance Art? 
Monday, October 2, 2006, 02:22 - Shooting, Commentary
Berlin

On my way home I passed by an art gallery that was having an opening and stopped in. An interesting side note: in America the booze at openings is always free, here you have to pay. So the theme of the show way adult oriented complete with performances. Nothing lewd but these Germans sure know how to have a good time! Now I am back at the flat, which by the way reminds me of some East Village tenements in NYC I used to hang out in during my irresponsible youth, trying to connect to the wireless but I can't seem to type it the incredibly long password my host set up!

Here's a camera phone pic.

All Tied Up...
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Another Brick in the Wall 
Sunday, October 1, 2006, 21:36 - Travel, Shooting, Personal, Commentary
Berlin



The Wall via camera phone

Here I am sitting on part of what's left of the Berlin wall thinking that's it's hard to imagine a more historic change than that one. But in many ways the slow transformation that Germany and the rest of Europe is going through is just as profound. Sitting here just gives me a little perspective on the history that I have been witness to in my short life and how much more I have to look forward to.


A mural of American Mumia Abu Jamal

Don't worry, I haven't spent the whole day thinking so hard. Earlier I went to three of Berlin's flea markets and picked up some gift as well as some great old postcards which you might be receiving if you're lucky! Tomorrow I think I will tour more of scenic Berlin and maybe some museums if they aren't all closed on Monday....

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Chillin' 
Sunday, October 1, 2006, 20:06 - Shooting, Commentary
Berlin

Last night was pretty laid back, I just had dinner with a fellow photog and his family. Afterwards I wandered around town, caught the end of an art gallery opening and walked home, no small feat given the distances involved.

On my way back I encountered a group of Punks who between drinks were trying to make some money washing the wind shields of cars stopped at the intersection. I was amused because this, like the graffiti you see everywhere here in Berlin, is something we used to have in New York. At first they were a bit wary but I managed to take about a roll of what I hope will be interesting pictures of the 'other Berlin'.

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Walking Around Berlin 
Sunday, October 1, 2006, 00:15 - Travel
Berlin

I finally had a chance to catch up on my sleep and nearly spent the whole day in bed! When I finally did get my act together I decided to walk downtown instead of taking the train and had a nice stroll along Karl Marx Allee, which was a real kick! The huge Soviet era building now all have lovely clean facades and the wide avenues made for good strolling. I managed to buy a sim card for my phone and a small map, something I should have done back home but for some reason I didn't.

Right now I am going to meet a friend of a friend who lives here and get oriented and maybe some tips for a good night out...

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The Party's Over... 
Friday, September 29, 2006, 21:23 - Travel, Personal
Cologne airport en route to Berlin

Well Photokina is over, at least for me. I had a great time though the Kodak folks and the other photogs kept me up pretty late. Saturday is Audrey's birthday so we all went out for dinner and then sang karaoke! She works hard all year at Kodak fighting the good fight so we can still use film so it was nice for us get to have a chance to show our appreciation.



I am looking forward to the next few days in Berlin. I don't have anything planned so I think I will just wander the streets and take some pictures. Maybe I will go out this weekend, who knows?

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Photokina Day 1 
Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 19:22 - Travel, Personal, Project News
Cologne




Well here I am at Photokina and I have to say that I am amazed. The Kodak booth. If you can call 30,000 sq. Feet a booth. It was something else to see my photos up on the walls here at the show. Who would have though that a young boy from Brooklyn could do so well?


My photos!

The show here is spread out over ten buildings so I am looking forward to doing some more exploring today and tomorrow. But just seeing my work on display in the company of so many other great photographers has made this trip a success for me already.


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En Route... 
Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 18:40 - Travel, Personal
En route to Cologne from Berlin

I haven't sleep in 20 hours and I have been on three different planes today. Good thing I am luckily enough to be staying at a nice chain hotel that Kodak is putting me up at. I am ready for a shower but no sleep since tonight is the Kodak press reception. I get to see what happens when you mix schmoozing with sleep depravation. Stay tuned!

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At the Airport.. 
Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 13:19 - Travel
Zurich

Just hanging out waiting for my flight to Berlin where I hop on another flight to Cologne. Don't let anyone tell you that being a globetrotting photog isn't fun!

This is my first time to this airport and it is pretty nice. I spent a fair amount of time browsing through the whiskey at the duty free, maybe I will pick something up when I head back, assuming I have any money left.

Are we there yet?


Airports are for lovers...
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Passport 
Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 00:03 - Travel, Personal
Well we finally got in the air if you can believe it, I know I can't. I was just flipping through my passport, something that I always do when flying. This very well may be the last trip I take with it since it expires next March and that means I will have to get a new one before the end of the year.

While I am not sentimental about most things, this passport has seen me through some pretty dramatic changes. I got it nearly ten years ago during my first year in college. Now I am a globe trotting photojournalist working on a long term project.

I look at my visa pages, especially the ones from my time in Indonesia with fondness, I do regret I never got back to Jordan to use the 5 year visa I had. Rwanda, Haiti, Singapore, Tanzania are all in that little book along with many more. Part of me will fell naked with a new book with no stamps but then I think about all the fun I will have filling it up over the next ten years and I smile. Who knows where my life will be at that point?

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